The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), in collaboration with the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP), has begun land preparation to engage several farmers in the three northern regions to produce butternut squash for export to Europe.
The Mino Weir and Willis (MWW) group of companies, a Birmingham based supplier of fresh exotic fruits and vegetables to the European market, wants SADA to provide it with 100 40-foot containers of butternut to be supplied during the window-winter of 2013 which also falls within the dry season in Ghana.
In line with that, the SADA and the NRGP have been working assiduously by linking roads to the farming sites at Gbetuor in the Jirapa District where over 300 farmers are going to be engaged to utilize the tributary of the White Volta to irrigate their farms.
Alhaji Gilbert Seidu Iddi, Chief Executive Officer of the SADA, said this at Gbetuor on Thursday as part of a two-day tour of some SADA projects in the Northern and Upper West regions.
He said SADA and NRGP had taken major steps at cultivating the butternut in commercial quantities in the Gbetuor and Meto` in the Upper West Region, Pwulugu in the Upper East Region and Kukobilla and Yapei in the Northern Region.
Mr Iddi said land clearing, ploughing, fertilizers and chemicals as well as technical advice would be provided to the farmers to ensure that they meet the demand and even exceed.
He said butternut takes only three months to harvest and has high nutritional value and appealed to more farmers in northern Ghana to take advantage of the opportunity and grow the crop.
Mr. Joseph Yang Faalong, the Upper West Regional Director of MOFA, said an investment capital of GH¢50 million is being committed into the preparation and cultivation of the crop in the Upper West Region, adding that, lip pumps and floating devises would soon be installed on the site and by the end of October, the dry season farming will start.
He said the places identified for the production of the butternut were low laying areas with water for dry season irrigation, adding that other vegetables such as okro, pepper and cabbage could also be produced alongside the nut.